The Trivial-to-Operate Edition Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Astonishing File System, by Ben Brooks

When I look at what people are clinging to on OS X, I see a group clinging to the very things which make computing more complex. We always give way to ease of use. Cars used to be more simple, and easier to fix, but harder to own and operate. Today cars are very complex, most people can’t work on them, but to operate and own a car is almost trivial.

This is the same shift we are needing to make with operating systems. Eschewing the idea that we need to be able to touch and edit every file, or we need a terminal for the OS. Instead we need something which is overly complex under the hood, so it may be trivial to operate for everyone else.

The Next 40, by Horace Dadiu, Asymco

We might want to ask about the causes of success or failure for a single company. We might want to sample its specific customers. We might want to observe how Apple’s own customers behaved in the past. We might want to use theories of brand value or theories of network effects or theories of software ecosystems.

These measures, rather than of “comparable companies” might lead to different conclusions: That customer are loyal, that they will value the brand and that they are invested in a network. In other words, that they will buy from Apple again.

Why Apple And Google Are Struggling To Design Simple Software, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

"There’s danger of making things so simple that everyone can use them, because then there's not that much to do and not that much to learn on a device," he said. "And once you’ve made that assertion, you've painted yourself into a corner. And we end up kind of where we are now."

Meanwhile, these challenges are only going to get tougher as digital interfaces show up in more unexpected places — and sometimes with even less real estate than your standard smartphone screen. Communicating effectively is going to be even more key as companies have to convey information on watchfaces, the domes of thermostats or — very crucially, when it comes to clarity — on the dashboard of your car.

It’s Not About The Tools, by Ben Brooks

So when you read my next review, or my next tweet, about some great new thing — just remember that it isn’t about the tools. The tools are just fun and easy to talk about. What you own already isn’t made any worse by virtue of that fact that something better has come along.

On The Other Hand: Buggy Updates

Apple Releases New Version Of iOS 9.3 For Older Devices Affected By Activation Lock Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today made good on that promise and has released a new version of iOS 9.3, build 13E237, which is now available for all iOS 9 users with older devices as an over-the-air update or through iTunes. Customers with older devices who had not yet updated to iOS 9.3 will be able to do so now.

Unable To Open Links In Safari, Mail Or Messages On iOS 9.3, by Ben Collier

Unfortunately there's no fix for this at the moment although a restart of the OS can temporarily restore links, and turning off JavaScript (Settings -> Safari -> Advanced) allows certain websites, such as Google search results to work again. Apple confirmed these workarounds to me, and hinted there may be a software update to resolve this.

Apple / FBI

U.S. Says It Has Unlocked iPhone Without Apple, by Katie Benner, New York Times

The Justice Department said Monday that it had found a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple, allowing the agency to withdraw its legal effort to compel the company to assist in a mass-shooting investigation.

[...] Yet law enforcement’s ability to unlock an iPhone through an alternative method raises new uncertainties, including questions about the strength of Apple’s security on its devices. The development also creates potential for new conflicts between the government and Apple. Lawyers for Apple have previously said that the company would want to know the method used to crack open the device. The government may make that method classified.

Apple: This Case Should Never Have Been Brought, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

"From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought. [...] This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion."

Apple Likely Can’t Force FBI To Disclose How It Got Data From Seized iPhone, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

A federal law enforcement official requesting anonymity told reporters in a conference call Monday that the US government would not discuss whether it would reveal the method.

Even Better On A Watch?

Using Apps To Ease The Headache Of Navigating Airports, by Jane L. Levere, New York Times

The capability on American’s app — known as “wayfinding” — is part of a growing trend among airlines and airports to use smartphones along with other technologies to make the airport experience smoother and less stressful.


TaskPaper 3 Conceals Its Power Beneath A Simple Interface, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The cornerstone and greatest strength of TaskPaper is plain text, which is portable, adaptable, and as future proof as you can get. Using a simple syntax reminiscent of Markdown and an abundance of keyboard shortcuts, Taskpaper's straightforward interface conceals considerable power under the hood.

Ex-NFL Players Use App To Tackle Health Problem, by CNET

Medical researchers at Harvard University have created an app that lets former players share how on-field injuries may still be affecting their brains and bodies.

Ex-players spend about 20 minutes a week with the app, called TeamStudy, recording their pain tolerance, mobility and memory. The broader public is also encouraged to use the app so researchers can compare the health of nonathletes to that of the former players.

How To Automatically Add Trello Cards To Todoist With iOS, by Allyson Kazmucha, The App Factor


Five Months On The Apple TV App Store, by David Kopec, Observational Hazard

Apple launched the fourth generation Apple TV on October 29th, 2015. That was also the first day of the Apple TV App Store and the first day that my tvOS app, Chess TV!, was available. Chess TV! is an app that I created as a side-project in about 30 hours of my time after receiving a free Apple TV dev kit from Apple prior to the official launch of the device. I have been pleasantly surprised by its sales. This is the story of its first five months.

My Heroic And Lazy Stand Against IFTTT, by Pinboard

In a nutshell: IFTTT wants me to do their job for them for free; They have really squirrely terms of service.

Will Amazon Let Developers Monetize The Echo?, by Stacey Higginbotham, Fortune

Then the real question becomes if companies will use the Echo as a marketing channel or if it can grow into a platform that offers a way to make real dollars.

Textastic 6 — A Universal Code Editor For iOS, by Mikhail Madnani, Beautiful Pixels


Many Companies Still Don’t Know How To Compete In The Digital Age, by Ron Adner, Harvard Business Review

Kodak did the wrenching hard work of changing from an analog-printing profit base to a digital-printing profit base. Yet it still failed. So what went wrong?

Kodak was so focused on its own technology transition that it missed the fact that the improvements in the very same components that gave rise to digital printing would, with further progress, undermine its very basis.

A Garry Shandling Photograph That Closes The Book On A Late-Night Era, by Ian Crouch, New Yorker

But what’s most striking about the image is how it captures, in the faces and manner of the four men, the precise nature of their comedic appeal.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, today I threw something away because that thing didn't bring me joy.

(Okay, so it was just a can of orange juice.)


I am excited to find out the future of both iOS and Mac OS X.

Windows, not so much.


Thanks for reading.